Sunday, April 10, 2011

Refreshing Summer Lunch

At last, my garden is producing! As most of you know, I was away for about 8 months last year, and it's been slow going getting the garden back up to speed. But this week, I've finally got lettuces, spinach, kale, onions and peas coming up. And I picked the first of the season's strawberries yesterday. I popped them in my mouth still warm from the sun. Such sweet and simple pleasures.

This past week, the humidity has also arrived. A few days ago, I was riding George in the early evening and the sweet, intoxicating smell of honeysuckle blooming wafted in on air that was just a tad moist. I can't tell you how much I love the feel of that air on my skin, and the sweetness of the fragrance seemed like paradise. Even this northern girl is surprised at how much pleasure the sultry air gives me.

That changed today of course, when it is nearly 90 and the humidity a bit over 50%. Okay, I've had enough. No really, this just means the mornings and evening are the best time to be outside and the best lunch is light and refreshing. I came in from a morning working in the garden, mostly noodling over my baby plants, and fixed myself a lunch of chopped salad, salted buttermilk and berries and yogurt garnished with mint and honey. Everything but the salad dressing came from the garden or the local market.

Eat local, live local!

Chopped Salad

Salad greens such as arugula, spinach, mixed baby lettuces
Vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, green onions, cauliflower, asparagus, kohlrabi
Herbs, such as cilantro, dill, chives, parsley, basil
Pecans or other nuts
Fruits, such as berries or pears
Cheese, such as crumbled goat feta, shredded romano or gruyere
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar or other dressing
Salt and pepper

Pile everything up on a large cutting board and chop into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with oil and vinegar or dressing and toss. Serve on a platter with crusty bread.